Sunday, September 20, 2009

Emotional exhaustion, heavy hearts, and a little optimism

These two kiddos, especially, are on my mind today.

It's been one of the most dramatic weeks in a long time for those following the Ugandan news and adoption blogs. In case you aren't following, please go read
for a small idea of what I'm talking about. Please pray for my dear friends and dear Josephine as they go on this journey together. 
Josephine, or Josie Love, was diagnosed with HIV this week as her family (writers of the above blog) were taking her for a routine health check-up in Kampala (I cringe at the thought of what the streets of Kampala were like on Monday-see previous post). The news brought us all to our knees. These children become like our own children as volunteers, and hearing about Josie's diagnosis brought up maternal feelings that you don't expect to feel as a single girl of 25. I can't imagine the scale of hearing this as a full-blown parent, though I know that all over the world, parents are getting this news more frequently than I'm comfortable thinking about... It's sobering, and my prayers are definitely with the Mayernick's for wisdom and peace.
I'm angry. I keep thinking of the phrase, "If anyone had a right to be mad at God, it would be ________" and inserting the names of so many I know who are going through times such as these this week. But I'm not angry with God. Just angry. If I could channel the passion I feel about this into a physical fight, somebody would be hitting the deck in less than 10 seconds, I'm sure. This sweet baby girl... with such a diagnosis. 
But here's why I'm not angry at God: 
I'm so thankful for medical advances that will allow her to extend and improve the quality of her life much longer than a HIV+ child just 5 years ago... 
So thankful that this daughter of the King was placed in the care of Amani, who ensured she has been SO loved her entire childhood, and who have lined her up with an AMAZING adoptive family to love on her even more
and SO thankful that through all of this, this diagnosis WAS discovered and she could be put on ARV's long before she might have if living somewhere outside of the orphanage, and as a result her outcome will be drastically different.

God has NOT forgotten her. He chose her to be in these circumstances to SAVE her. He has used everyone in her life in a specific, calculated way to bring her to this point, and to me this means that even with anger at the Enemy for his planned attacks and with anger at disease and world circumstances, instead we should rejoice that our God is MIGHTY and sovereign and His eye is on this little sparrow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The World is in Motion

I'm supposed to be editing together some videos for a video letter to our dearests in Uganda, but just thought I'd take a short break to share something I read today from the Palmers' blog ( so that you can all be in prayer. There are a lot of dear friends in Uganda right now, and even though everyone is mostly in Jinja or out west away from the Kampala area, I'm still concerned. Especially be in prayer for the Mayernick's and the Keck's, who are traveling in/out of Uganda in the next couple of weeks, which involves travel through Kampala. I copied and pasted this for reading ease, but please take a few minutes to get informed (I feel like American media misses out on a lot of important news).
From the Palmers:

SEPTEMBER 11, 2009


This is a serious post. The usual humor will have to wait for next time.

We got a call last night from Mama Rose, about 10:15 or so. She's an avid radio listener, and she wanted to let us know about some disturbing reports coming from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. There had been some rioting earlier that day, and people died, and that's about all we knew. She wanted us to "pray for the situation." We did, went to sleep, and that was that. 

And then today happened. The rioting continued, people were barricading streets, setting buses and shops on fire, robbing, beating. Local transport like taxis and buses stopped running. The military was called in. Stray bullets from their guns found unwitting human targets. Radio stations were shut down. Journalists were detained and beaten for taking pictures of the scene. 

What's causing all of this? Here's the official AP story, which contains this nutshell version:

The unrest began Thursday after the government prevented a representative of the traditional ruler of the Buganda kingdom from traveling to a region northeast of the capital for a political rally. Members of the kingdom make up Uganda's largest ethnic group but there is friction between the Buganda and members of the smaller Banyara tribe, who claim the Buganda refuse to recognize them.

Basically, it's tribalism rearing its ugly head, and President Museveni is in the middle of it somehow. 

Michelle and I have been reading a lot of different articles about the unrest (BBC News has a good one, as doesReuters, and there are a couple of independent sources that were especially illuminating), and we're discovering that this is a complicated issue with no easy solutions. Tribal sovereignty colliding with democratic government, especially one that isn't exactly known for being pure and wholesome. But both sides have what seem to me to be legitimate claims. 

(And for the record, we are currently safe and sound. Jinja [where we live] is about 80 kilometers east of Kampala, and for the moment, it looks like none of this will make its way out here. So please don't worry.)

All that aside, what's struck us the most is that all this is happening on September 11th. As I remember that dreadful, shocking day, the thing I remember most is the way the crisis united America as a nation. For the next few weeks and months, we were able to look past ideological, political, and even theological differences and see each other as humans, as Americans. 

Remember that? Doesn't it seem so far away? 

Uganda is a tiny nation in the middle of East Africa that is often dwarfed in notability by her neighbors, like Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda. The inability to speak your mind and be heard by your government here isn't going to be noticed by the international media, because there are more sensational things happening in those other countries. But the fact of the matter is, it's difficult to make your voice heard here. 

There are many Ugandans who want to see this country go in a different, more progressive direction, that are tired of seeing government workers drive very nice vehicles while the poor go hungry and lack water. That are tired of people putting their tribes ahead of their country. That are tired of the lack of listening they perceive coming from their leaders. 

So what can they do? We asked Mama Rose that question this morning, and she said, "What can I do? I can do nothing. So I get on my knees and I pray for Museveni, because he is our president. And he is just a man like me."

Americans have the luxury of being petty and focusing on soundbites and sensationalism. Americans can afford to prop up weak arguments with rhetoric and shouting instead of logic and facts. Americans are blessed to be able to try to argue the other guy under the table without ever trying to listen to him. 

Because Americans have an audience. Americans have a voice. 

Here? Not the same. 

So, on this September 11th, can we all put aside the stupidity, the name-calling, the shouting, the money-grabbing rants to increase our ad revenue? Can we remember those days eight years ago when we all decided to be grown-ups and see the humanity in each other? Can we focus on the planks in our own eyes instead of screaming about the specks in the eyes of people who don't agree with every single thing we believe? 

We are all sinners, all in need of redemption, all headed for an eternity apart from God, all in need of grace and mercy. Whether you like it or not, the leader of your country, state, city is the leader of your country, state, or city, and Jesus loves them. Just as much as he loves you. 

"Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. " (Romans 5:7-8The Message)